A/N: Written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competion Season 3 Round 10 as Beater 2 for the Caerphilly Catapults
Prompt: Forbidden Love - an inter-species relationship (in this case, the unrequited love between Firenze/all his female Divination students and probably a few of the males too)
Optional Prompts: 3. "All I Want" by Kodaline, 8. No using the word "forbidden," 14. "Euphoria"
Hermione was brushing her teeth and getting ready for bed when Parvati and Lavender passed by the girls' bathroom on the way to the dormitory. She heard Parvati giggle, and then a creak of bedsprings, like Parvati had just flung herself onto her bed. Parvati and Lavender often giggled, but Hermione was particularly tired of it today; it was the evening after their first Divination class with Firenze, the "gorgeous centaur" about whom Parvati and Lavender hadn't stopped gushing since breakfast that morning.
"I can just see it, can't you? Him,"Parvati said, "Knocking at my door, you know, when I've gone home, and declaring 'Parvati, I had to see you again. I knew I could die a happy man if I could only see your face once more.'"
She and Lavender sighed, as Hermione entered the dormitory, toothbrush in hand, and rolled her eyes.
"Who's this, then?" Hermione asked, though she feared she already knew the answer.
"Firenze!" Lavender told her, closing her eyes in total euphoria.
"Still?" Hermione asked, wishing she could be more surprised.
"Of course!" Lavender told her, insulted. "You should have seen him today, Hermione. You'd be talking the same way."
"Oh!" Parvati squealed, causing her roommates to jump in surprise, "Oh, I just thought of it! I was trying to imagine how he would first kiss you, and I just realized that he's so tall… Well, he'd have to sweep you up in his arms."
Lavender seemed only to need a moment to consider this before she retorted, "No, no. What he would do is he would get down on his knees, lowering himself just to your level, and then cup your face in his hands"—she mimed the action in the air in front of her—"and bring you ever so gently towards his face." She brought her own hands towards her lips and kissed the air.
"Oh, that sounds just as lovely," Parvati agreed, hugging a pillow to her chest.
"Or," Lavender began, "what if he needed to take you through the forest. You probably think he'd carry you in his human arms." Parvati nodded contentedly.
"But I think he would need his arms for fighting off whatever dangers we encountered. I think he'd carefully allow you to climb on his back, and you'd be bouncing as he galloped across the uneven ground, and your—"
"Lavender!" Hermione forcefully stopped the fantasy from going any farther than it already had, at least outside Lavender's head.
"Oh, but wouldn't it be so much more powerful if he was holding you in his human arms and he defended you with his hooves, rearing back, lifting you high above the danger, and kicking whatever it was?" Parvati piped up, "He could stand first on his back legs and then on his front and kick in both directions, all while holding you out of harm's way."
"Either way, he'd of course be injured trying to protect you from so many different dangers that you'd have to stop in a secluded part of the forest, and find some herb to tend his wounds."
Hermione frowned at this latest piece of nonsense, her own memories of the Forbidden Forest being so incompatible with this imagined ride on the back of their Divination professor. "That's just silly!" she said, "If something is attacking you, there's no point in stopping. There wouldn't be any secluded spot in the forest that the thing didn't already know about, if it lived in the forest, too."
"But what if he couldn't go on?" Parvati countered.
"He'd have to sacrifice himself," Lavender said, "And he'd set you down on the ground before he said goodbye. 'Lavender, my love, will you forgive me? I couldn't protect you, but I can distract the monsters for a little bit of time—just long enough for you to escape.'"
"'Oh, but I couldn't leave you!'" Parvati protested to Lavender's Firenze.
"'You must,'" the other girl replied, "'I only wish I had had more time to tell you…'" Lavender began to sink back into her pillows and gave a weak cough.
"'Tell me what?'" Parvati asked, rushing over to "Firenze" and leaning close.
"'How much I love you,'" Lavender said, "'But it doesn't matter now, for I will die here. And you must go on without me, my darling. Forget me. Find someone better.'"
"'But there is no one better, don't you see?'" Parvati said, as Lavender began to move less and less on her pillow.
"'Firenze!'" Parvati finally cried, when Lavender was as still as she could get, "'Oh, Firenze, don't leave me! Don't you know that I love you, too? We'll survive this together!'"
Hermione observed the dramatic scene with skepticism. "I thought he said he was going to give you enough time to escape?" she reminded the two girls.
"Well, of course!" Lavender said, springing up, "He only looks dead. In a second, he'll sit up in a burst of energy—"
"All because you've told him you love him!" Parvati put in.
"—And he'd carry you out of the forest as if nothing could stop him!"
"Because you've given him so much strength through your love!"
"He'd never be able to leave you. He'd find the strength to fight a little more just as the monsters are catching up to you. And finally, gasping for air and bleeding heavily, you'd emerge into the dawn, and he'd collapse on the grass. Of course, you'd have been expected to get through the forest the night before, so someone would come looking for you shortly, and be able to take care of him, but you'd kiss him, and kiss him—" Lavender continued.
"And whisper in his ear how much you love him! You'd take his hand, and he'd squeeze it, his face crunching up in pain."
"Well, that doesn't sound pleasant," Hermione said.
"No, but you don't understand!" Parvati said rapturously, "It would look beautiful on him. And when you knew it was all right, you'd kiss on the grass, so happy that you made it out together that they'd have to carry you both, still kissing, to take him to be healed."
Lavender and Parvati sighed, melting onto their beds, wide smiles plastered on their faces. Hermione gaped at them. "Why, that's ridiculous!" she said.
"But so romantic!" Lavender said.
"I don't think it's romantic at all!" Hermione told them, "And why would he have waited until he was dying to tell you he loved you, if he loved you all that much?"
"Because he was scared," Parvati told her, sitting bolt upright, "What if you didn't love him back?"
"I don't see why you'd be running through the forest on his back or being cradled in his arms if you didn't," Hermione reasoned.
"But he'd have to be sure," Lavender said.
Hermione looked between Parvati and Lavender and gave up, settling herself in bed with a book. "You know," she said after a moment, "Firenze saved Harry's life once and carried him out of the forest. I think I remember him saying that he rode on Firenze's back."
She looked up when she realized that the two other girls had gone totally silent. "Not like that!" she said, grimacing at the thought.